Summary: This sermon is a continuation of the series in the beatitudes. Being persecuted for taking a stand in our society on issues as abortion and homosexuality are presented.
How To Face Life’s Challenges Part IV.
We have previously looked in our Bibles at Matthew chapter 5 verses 1-9. These verses have been called the Be-attitudes. Someone has said these are the attitudes that should be in us as we face the challenges that come our way in life. Now remember we said that Jesus had taken his disciples up on the mountain to give them this teachings. The beatitudes are for believers who are willing to go the extra mile to hear what Jesus wants to tell them.
You may also remember the word “blessed” means “happy” and “to be envied” so that other people will want to have what it is you’ve got. It has been said, that as you go through the nine “blessed” in this passage of Scripture, that they get a little bit harder along the way. It takes a little more commitment to Christ to be willing to stand firm. Let’s look at verse 10 and see what wonderful blessing the Lord has for us this afternoon.
It says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted, because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Uh-oh. There goes Jesus with his strange sense of humor again. Now to put this in everyday language it would read, “Blessed are you when you really get into trouble, because you did the right thing.” We like to think that when we do the right thing, God is going to be so happy with us, that He will not let anything happen to us. Have you ever said, “God I tried to do the right thing and look what happened.”
In our Old Testament reading, King Joash became a king at age 7. His grandmother, Athaliah, had killed all his brothers and sisters in order to become queen. Joash was hidden from her. Jehoida put his life on the line in a rebellion against Queen Athaliah, in order to put Joash rightfully on the throne. Jehoida, the priest, taught the king all about the Lord. King Joash followed the Lord for many years until Jehoida died. After that, the King began to serve idols, and turned the nation away from God. Jehoida’s son, a priest by the name of Zechariah, refused to do the politically correct thing and go along with everybody else. He told them flat out “what you’re doing is wrong, and it will lead to the Lord forsaking you.” Zechariah was persecuted for his stand, and King Joash killed the son of the man who had literally saved his life. Zechariah did the right thing, but he paid for it with his life.
We are living in a world today where taking a stand for righteousness is not taken to too kindly. We are told, “mind your own business”, “don’t get involved”, “let sleeping dogs lie”, and “nobody likes a goody two shoes.” What should we do, when we find out a co-worker is stealing from the job? What should we do when the company we work for is cheating people out of their money or making sloppy or dangerous products? What’s our responsibility when we go to the store and our friend comes out having stolen something and says look what I got, do you want some?
Then there are those even tougher issues. What do we do when we find out a father is sexually abusing one of his children, and that father happens to be a brother, a cousin, or even a spouse. We know if we go public with this, it will bring the wrath of the rest of the family upon us. Yet Jesus says, blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. God is telling us to go ahead and do the right thing and pay the penalty for it. You see God has us where He has us in our homes, our families, our schools, and our jobs because He expects us to make a difference.